Two Simple Questions to Help You Tackle Feeling Overwhelmed

A process to both understand and overcome the feeling of having too much to do but not enough time

Mike Sturm
7 min readJan 22, 2021


Photo by Daniel Schaffer on Unsplash

One day, a few years ago, I found myself at my desk at work. It was 5pm. I felt like I hadn’t gotten anything done, and I felt like I still had so much more to do. But I also knew that I needed to go home. I’d been at work since 6:30 am.

It was another nearly 12-hour day. And it’s not like I was working for a sexy startup as an entrepreneur. I was in an entry-level position at a 9 to 5 job — which had become a 6 to 5 job. And I’d usually end up doing work on the laptop after dinner as well.

The Myth of “Not Enough Time”

My naïve assessment of my situation was that I simply didn’t have enough time to get everything done. But that was a misunderstanding of the situation. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time.

In fact, for anyone who says that they don’t have enough time, it’s simply not true. You have the time.

You may not be satisfied with the amount of time you have, but it’s the same amount we all have: 24 hours each day, 168 hours each week. So time isn’t the problem.

The feeling of being overwhelmed comes not from a lack of time, but rather from a lack of clarity. When you’re not clear on what you really need to do, and when it needs to be done, your mind flips into overdrive, and then overwhelm.

But you can do something to remedy this. You can get clarity, and get control.

Why We Feel Overwhelmed

When we feel overwhelmed, we feel like there’s just too much to do, and not enough time to do it all. But as I’ve said, the problem isn’t the time, because we all have the same amount of time each day. The problem, then, is the stuff to be done.

But let’s dig into why there’s too much be done.

When I stepped back and looked at the times when I’ve felt really overwhelmed, I realized something. The problem is not that there just is too much to do, but rather that there’s too much I feel like I need to do now. That’s different from there actually being



Mike Sturm

Creator: — A simpler personal productivity system. Writing about productivity, self-improvement, business, and life.